My Huge, Private and Secret Garden
by Barbara Kingstone
Anyone arriving to Toronto from sophisticated and chic Montreal in the early 70s, would have immediately had the ‘vapours’ as the English would say, or in our native tongue, a total melt-down. I did.
Not a bar, restaurant or store was open on Sundays. It was a time strictly reserved for reading the Bible.
And the architecture, now so well thought out with world class designs, was then made up of low-rise, dreary buildings not remotely resembling the cachet for this Montreal snob. Ah, but now, just look at our exemplary skyline.
Looking back over the decades, I couldn’t, wouldn’t think about ever living elsewhere. Of course, I am most fortunate to be a travel writer which gives me insight to so many other cultures and also the chance to leave from time to time. But on my returns, in need for down time, I go where I so often have spent pensive time. I head to High Park Gardens. Magically, it relieves stress and I’m still dazzled by the beauty of the flora and fauna.
So when in Toronto, go west travellers and head directly to High Park Gardens in our ethnic-centric city.
The variety of greenery is stunning and not manicured to death, the zoo is charming as children rush about to see their favourite animals, and the hot summer nights usually have the professionally-acted, outdoor theatre, presenting Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Ride, jog or walk to the herb and rose gardens, stare at the glistening lake and dine at the very acceptable on-site diner where you may even see a familiar TV or film star.
And, best of all is that you don’t even realize you’re in North America. Every possible language is heard over picnic tables and barbecues. Children and adults play tennis, soccer or table games. And then there are the wonderful scents from the varied cooking that permeates the air.
High Park Gardens is a vast area in the centre of this sprawling city. And even though some balmy days and nights, there may be hundreds of like-minded locals, after all these decades of living in this booming city, High Park Gardens is still, and always will be, my own private and secret getaway.
Barbara Kingstone has worked, lived and published on four continents. She is a passionate traveller especially enjoying exotic destinations as seen on her luxury on-line magazine. But, she’s always happy to return to Toronto with its great variety of entertainment, food, ethnic areas and the polite people which we take for granted until we go to other countries.